Scout Moms

For Robyn Goins of Campbelltown, Scouting is all about creating an inclusive environment for youth. “We want (Cub Scouts) to have experiences and memories and be able to have that confidence to be leaders, to help other people and to be confident in what they do,” she said. As the Cub Scout Pack 130 Webelos II assistant den leader, Robyn holds up the Scout sign during the pack’s crossover ceremony in the St. Mary Church Community Center in Ireland on May 5.

Story by Olivia Ingle
Photos by Marlena Sloss

It’s early May, and Robyn Goins hurries down an aisle between tables in the St. Mary Church Community Center in Ireland. She pushes in chairs, making sure there’s plenty of room for boys in Cub Scout Pack 130 to walk down the aisle during the Crossover and Arrow of Light ceremony set to start in less than an hour.

When the ceremony is ready to begin, the Pike County mom joins four men standing at the front of the room, all clad in Scout uniforms. Robyn is wearing one too — the only woman in the room doing so. She joins the Scouts in the Scout Oath.

Even though she’s the only woman, she doesn’t seem out of place. The Scouts know and trust her, as do the parents attending the ceremony.

Robyn, who lives in Campbelltown, is fairly new to the Cub and Boy Scout world, and calls it “an exciting new adventure.”

Robyn enjoys spending time with her son, Hayden, 11, and watching him grow through Scouting. “We all have really busy lives, and after you work and clean and take care of your house, that doesn’t leave a whole lot of time,” she said. “So the fact that you can be involved is very nice.” As the Cub Scout Pack 130 Webelos II assistant den leader, Robyn hands Hayden a lantern before he walks over the bridge during the pack’s crossover ceremony in the St. Mary Church Community Center in Ireland on May 5.

At the crossover ceremony, she was an assistant den leader for the Cub Scout Pack 130 Webelos II. Because her son, 11-year-old Hayden, crossed over that day to Boy Scouts, she has since transitioned into the role of assistant scoutmaster and treasurer for Boy Scout Pack 130.

In addition to being a Boy Scout leader, she’s also a troop leader for her 17-year-old daughter Makenna’s Girl Scout troop in Winslow.

“It’s lots of running,” Robyn said of being both a Boy and Girl Scout leader. “I’m a queen of a calendar.”

Being the only female leader in the Boy Scout pack, Robyn was sure to ask Hayden if he wanted her involved. And, he did. She appreciates it. She just wants the best experience possible for her son.

“I think something that we always strive for is we want it to be memorable, and fun, and learning for the boys,” she said. “We want them to have experiences and memories, and be able to have that confidence to be leaders and to help other people and to be confident in what they do, and to grow.”

She’s happy to have a hand in that. One thing she likes about the organization is that there are opportunities for every Scout.

“Sports have gotten so competitive, and if you can’t go to the camps and stuff, to get the best skills and do the travel teams, you don’t always get to play,” she said. “Scouting has so many different merits and different attributes to it that you can excel in, that somebody can find somewhere to fit.

“I love watching the boys grow, and love and achieve together,” she added.

 

 

Finding a niche

Ashley Hopf of Holland, Cub Scout Pack 187 cubmaster and Bear den leader, leads the Scout Oath for her son, Dean Cooper, 9, right, and Jackson Arehart of Holland, 6, at the American Legion in Holland on June 24. Though the pack is small, with 10 members, they are in their second year and hope to grow this coming Scout year.

“It doesn’t make sense for me not to do it,” Ashley Hopf said of being cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 187 in Holland. She’s also the pack’s Bear den leader.

Since first volunteering with the pack about three years ago, and then becoming cubmaster late last year, she’s seen the pack evolve.

“I try really hard to keep it afloat,” the Holland mother said. “It’s really come a long way. We’ve had good attendance, we did good on our popcorn sales, I’ve seen more adult participation. It’s been a lot better this year than last year.”

Ashley had just finished a June Cub Scout meeting at the American Legion in Holland. Because it was summer, when kids and parents often have busy schedules, only two Scouts — Ashley’s 9-year-old son, Dean Cooper, and Jackson Arehart, 6, also of Holland — of the 10-member pack attended the meeting (the pack has two meetings per month).

Ashley leads a lesson about marbles for Dean and Jackson.

The theme of the meeting?

Marbles.

The boys learned about the history of the little spheres, engineered a marble maze and played a game of marbles on the floor.

“You guys will have more respect for people your grandparents’ age who played marbles seriously,” Ashley told the boys.

Ashley, who is married to Tony Hopf and works in the office at Blesch Brothers Equipment in Holland, became cubmaster late last year.

She decided to get Dean involved with Cubs Scouts about three years ago because he “wasn’t making very many friends in school, and he just needed a niche.”

“He needed a pack to run around with,” she said.

And, not only has he found just that, Ashley has also found her niche. She loves seeing the kids open up.

“They’re just happy,” she said. “They get along so much. They make friends, wholesome connections and they learn something.”

In addition to the regular Cub Scout meetings, the kids have also done other activities, such as learning how to use pocket knives, learning about safety, hiking and playing various games based on teamwork.

“I like seeing the kids evolve,” Ashley said.

“We’re pretty small,” she added, referring to her pack, “but we have it together.”

 

 

 

Prime quality time

Amanda Gudorf of St. Meinrad, Cub Scout Pack 102 committee chair, holds her son Parker, 5, during the pack meeting at the St. Boniface Parish Center in Fulda on May 7. Amanda first became involved in Cub Scouts after her oldest son, Wyatt, 11, wanted to join. “I’m involved in everything my kids do ... I thought it would be a good opportunity for us to do stuff together,” Amanda said.

Why does Wyatt Gudorf of St. Meinrad like having his mom, Amanda Gudorf, as the committee chair of St. Meinrad’s Cub Scout Pack 102 and an organizer and leader of Cub Scout Day Camp?

“I don’t have to bring my lunch,” the then-10-year-old said. “I can eat staff lunch.”

Wyatt’s first year of camp was in 2011, and Amanda and her husband, Michael, who is the pack’s cubmaster, have been on staff the past three years. This summer, they were directors of the four-day June event at Winslow’s Old Ben Scout Reservation that hosted about 80 Cub Scouts from packs in Ferdinand, St. Meinrad, Petersburg, Ireland and Chrisney. One scout who was visiting his grandparents from Texas even attended.

Amanda, who is dietary manager at The Timbers of Jasper, likes the inclusiveness of camp and how it allows Scouts to interact with those from other packs.

“They don’t go to the same school or play on opposing sports teams, but they interact at Scout camp,” she said.

Camp took about seven months of planning for Amanda, and the only hiccup was some thunderstorms during camp week.

She enjoys “trying to come up with enough ideas to keep the boys occupied and interested.”

For example, activities for Day 3 of camp included slingshot shooting, archery, BB shooting, team-building games and activities, and a station where the scouts could learn about what to do in case of an emergency.

Amanda is appreciative of all the parent leaders that contribute to the pack’s community. Amanda, left; her husband, Michael; Cynthia Knepper of Evanston; Cynthia’s husband, Matt; and Sherry Etienne of Mariah Hill sing the Scout song “Scout Vespers” during a campfire at the pack meeting at the St. Boniface Parish Center in Fulda on May 7.

All of the activity stations were manned by volunteers — about 25 total helped with camp.

Amanda and Michael have three kids — Wyatt, who is now 11, Madalyn, 10, and Parker, 5.

Parker just joined Cub Scouts this week as a kindergartner, although he’s already tagged along to various Cub Scout events with Wyatt and his parents, including day camp. Madalyn, who is a Girl Scout, also volunteered at the day camp, truly making the event a family affair.

“If we didn’t do scouting and sports together, we wouldn’t see each other,” Michael said of him and Amanda. “We make a good team.”

Michael was a Scout himself for nearly nine years, and says he’s probably got another seven years of day camp left in him. Amanda was also in Girl Scouts growing up.

Amanda wasn’t the only mom at camp. There were several, including Crystal Osborn, a Wolf co-den leader for Cub Scout Pack 102. She has four kids — Joseph, 12, Arthur, 11, William 7, and Daniel, 5.

Crystal loves all the things scouting involves, like hiking, bugs, fishing and cooking.

“I get to know my boys’ personality, likes, dislikes,” she said. “The best part is I don’t have to grow up.”

Amanda said her three kids are involved in a lot of different after-school activities, and Cub Scouts allows her to get some quality time with Wyatt.

“I’m involved in everything my kids do,” she said. “And when Wyatt wanted to join Cub Scouts, I thought it would be a good opportunity for us to do stuff together.”

 

 

 

Mom comes prepared

“It’s just really beautiful exposing (Cub Scouts) to new experiences,” said Anita Fraser of Jasper. “You can see their minds just processing things, and thinking about just the birds, or new foods ... they’re little sponges.” Anita, who led the Cub Scout Pack 183 Tiger den last Scout year with her husband, Jason, points out a bird to Brody Haaf of Jasper, 7, during the Family Nature Fest at the Ferdinand State Forest in Ferdinand on April 14.

Seven-year-old Asher Fraser of Jasper is starting his third year of Cub Scouts with Precious Blood Pack 183 in Jasper, and his parents, Anita and Jason, will again lead his den — they moved up from the Tiger den last Scout year to the Wolf den this year.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Anita said. “I love being able to watch all of our little boys in our den grow.”

Anita comforts her son, Asher, 7, during the Family Nature Fest .

Jason was in Boy Scouts growing up, so he had an idea of what being a leader would involve. The couple, who also have a sixth-grade daughter named Neela, has tag-teamed the responsibilities.

It started out for them as, “OK, let’s just get through this year because we’ve agreed to do this,” but now they’re leading the den again because they like it, have become close with other parents and enjoy seeing the kids take interest in outdoor things.

Also, Anita has realized the impact she can make as a female den leader.

“With the Cub Scouts being so young, we’re trying to teach them how to grow up to be responsible men,” she said. “But at the same time, at their age, having that tender side for when they’re little boys is important, too.”

She recalled a rocket launch at the Dubois County 4-H Fairgrounds last year that she took the four boys in their den to. Jason couldn’t attend that event.

“That was kind of interesting because the other dens, they had a man that was there and I was the mom,” Anita said. “Of course I’m carrying sunscreen and waters and snacks and this giant bag and umbrella. The other dads are like, ‘Wow, that would have been a good idea.’”

She’s looking forward to another year as a Scout leader, because she enjoys “teaching the kids about outdoor activities and nature and just seeing their appreciation for nature.”




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